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Monterey County Office of Education

Leadership, Support and Service to Prepare All Students for Success

Dr. Deneen Guss, County Superintendent of Schools

Alternative Education Social Workers

Primary Functions of a School Social Worker

School Social Workers are a critical link between school, home and the community. The practice of School Social Work is primarily propelled by changes in education policy, research and practice models as they continue to evolve.

School Social Workers provide comprehensive services to improve the learning, behavior, attendance and socio-emotional well-being of all students in Alternative Education.

Listed Below are specific functions that School Social Workers may provide.

Educational Related Services

  • Participate in special education assessment meetings as well as individual education planning meetings.

  • Participate in parent/teacher conferences as requested.

  • Conduct various educational assessments in order to identify and address pertinent issues that impedes a students ability to learn.
    Bio-psychosocial, Child & Adolescent Needs and Strength Assessment, School Refusal Behavior-Revised Assessment, Functional Behavioral Analysis, etc.

  • Coordinate culturally sensitive, linguistic and appropriate services and resources for the family, school and community in order to enable the child to learn as effectively as possible in their educational program.

  • Assist in the development and implementation of multi-tier level Positive Behavioral Support Systems.

Direct Services to Students

  • Develop strategies to increase academic success.

  • Facilitate conflict resolution, anger management and restorative justice practices to improve student/staff relationships.

  • Help the student develop appropriate social interaction skills.

  • Provide school based counseling
    Group, Individual, and/or Family

  • Provide crisis intervention.

  • Develop comprehensive student service and transition plans to help meet the students post-secondary education and or college/career goals.

Service to Parents/Families

  • Conduct family home visits upon request.

  • Work with parents to facilitate their support in their child's school adjustment.

  • Educate families on utilizing healthy coping mechanisms in order to alleviate family stress to help the student function more effectively within their educational environment.

  • Student and Family Advocacy

    • Refer student and parent to programs available for students with special needs.

    • Assist students & parents with accessing and utilizing school and community resources.

Current Initiatives

  • Expulsion requirements and development of rehabilitation plan in order to assist students to return to schools of their district in a timely manner.

  • TAP (Truancy Abatement Program) to assess and provide intervention services to help improve school attendance.

  • Student Prevention Intervention Team (SPRINT) School Social Worker or designee is responsible for facilitating a collaborative discussion from multiple disciplines who are connected with the student in order to promote academic success.

  • College and Career Readiness: Help students develop a successful transition plan to post secondary education or a career of choice.

Request for Basic Social Work Services

Basic Social Work services are available for all students at the request of school staff or Probation Department/Collaboratives.


School Social Work Association of America

National Association of Social Workers

Alternative Education Social Workers

La Toshia Palmer, MSW/ASW, PPSC
Alternative Education School Social Worker
Community Schools
Desk: 831.784.4224

Patricia Peña, LCSW
Alternative Education School Social Worker
South County/Court Schools
Desk: 831.783.5017


Chris Devers

Senior Director
Phone: 831.755.6457

Maricela Cruz

Administrative Assistant III
Phone: 831.784.4224

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